Walk in the Woods | Radix Fermentations
As I’ve repeated many times over these reviews, finding a brewery new to you rocks. Sometimes there’s some hype, but mostly you get to try the beers and they stand on their own merit. There was a little bit of hype with Supermoon (which I was able to finally try in November) but really I was judging the beers on what they were. While not quite a circle of life scenario (nothing died), Supermoon held a bottle release recently and led me to Radix Fermentation and their sahti, Walk in the Woods.
Radix Fermentations began in 2020. As co-founder and brewer Adam Thomas told me, his beer takes some time before it’s ready so the pandemic really didn’t affect things all that much. (Wife and co-founder Kayla Thomas handles designs and socials.) Their first beer tapped at the Sugar Maple in late December 2020, followed by their first bottles in February 2021. And what were their first two bottles? Why an American wild ale with wine grapes (The Unwashed Grape) and Walk in the Woods (this beer), a mixed culture barrel fermented Sahti of course! (Sahti’s keep the lights on!).
Per Untappd, Radix has released seven different beers featuring a grisette, two saisons, and three wild ales. (Seriously this sounds like Off Color’s debut.) They currently brew out of MobCraft as an alt-prop and the goal is to eventually find their own space. I’m pulling for them as this area needs another saison producer. (Radix, make it easy on everyone and find a spot in Bay View. Then I could hit 1840, Supermoon and Radix all in one trip.)
Not a typically produced style, a sahti falls under the BJCP guidelines as a historical beer (along with gose and roggenbier, for example). First sahti shout out came in 1366 and has been brewed in Finland ever since. I could go on, but this is a beer review, so click on over to this Kegerator article about sahti. It’s interesting and worth a read. Based on a quick search of our archives, it appears we’ve only had one sahti beer on the show (Off Color’s Bare Bear back in 2016). While I’ve had the style before, I’m unfortunately not as well versed in them as, say, smoothie sours.
Walk in the Woods pours a lovely copper or amber color. It honestly kind of looks like liquified butterscotch. While not crystal clear, I can see my finger on the other side of the glass. About one finger of white head forms that sticks around for a bit, eventually reducing to a nice thin layer atop the beer.
I could smell Walk in the Wood while looking at it. Could be the power of suggestion, but it kind of smelled like the woods in the room. Tree bark and oak notes show up, but a lovely honey bread aroma carries the sahti. As I kept sniffing, I couldn’t place an aroma, but it eventually came to me – apple juice. It’s the next biggest aroma next to that honey bread and it really keeps your nose on its toes. Walk in the Woods continues with nose flavors of juniper, peach (or some other stone fruit) and a little hint of smokiness. Beautifully complex and interesting aromatically.
This might speak to my inexperience with the sahti style, but Walk in the Woods shocked me with its tartness. That peach aroma that showed up briefly? Huge on the palate. It finishes with a nice peach-like tartness that starts off a bit much but mellow into something addictive as you keep drinking. Woods never gets to the sour point or stacks on the tart either. Some apple, wood, and some raisins emerge as you let it warm up a bit. I would definitely say drinking this closer to room temperature as a lot of it opens up and it becomes much more complex.
Walk in the Woods finishes dry. Between that and the tartness that lingers around it really keeps you coming back for more. There’s a honey-like coating on the tongue but otherwise things move and it definitely doesn’t weigh you down. But that tartness will stay with you well after you’re finished.
Having limited experience with sahti, I’ll say that the tartness on Walk in the Woods really jarred me. I was expecting more earthy and woody notes and having that blast of tartness threw me off. Eventually I came around to the peach-like tartness and it wound up becoming an asset as I kept going back for more. It most definitely does not drink 7.2% ABV. While I wish some more complexity hung around a bit after the sip, what’s here is interesting and different enough to warrant a purchase.